Italian agribusiness export breaks through 60 billion

Italian food products on a table
In five years, the amount of products sold abroad has remained the same but the revenue collected has jumped 28 percent: the reasons behind this difference.

By now, the estimates are precise, Italian agri-food exports will rise from 52 billion in 2021 to 60 billion in 2022, breaking through a historic ceiling. But in terms of volume, little or nothing has changed in five years: the amount of Made in Italy products sold abroad is still the same. On the contrary, in the same five-year period, the turnover collected from our exports has decreased by 28 percent.

What does this mean? Part of this increase in value is undoubtedly due to the ability of Italian supply chains to increase the added value of individual products. But there is no doubt that such a leap is also due to the paw of inflation. The data come from the Divulga Study Center, coordinated by Riccardo Fargione.

Italian agricultural and food exports

Top 10 export products first 10 months of 2022. Volumes, tons.

Italian food export data 2022

So what foods have our country managed to increase sales abroad from the point of view of quantity? In the first place, Divulga's elaborations tell us, is wheat: Italy, in the first ten months of 2022, sold 98 percent more of it. However, it could be better than this cereal represents only a tiny part of Italy's agri-food trade balance: wheat does not appear in the upper parts of the grain ranking.

Compounded by the shortage of raw materials in the international marketplace and the conflict in Ukraine, foreign wheat sales have grown 211 percent. The most exported product does not even appear. Incidentally, its selling price has increased much more than its quantities, which is a clear sign of inflation.

Among the champions of quantitative increases, in second place after wheat, are sheep and goat meats, whose sales abroad in volume in the first ten months of 2022 grew by 28 percent. But even these certainly do not represent the emblem of the most exported food made in Italy.

Pasta, on the other hand, represents the fourth most significant item of our exports in terms of volume sold abroad - 1.7 million tons in the first ten months of 2022 - but also the fifth largest item in terms of exported turnover - 2.34 billion - and exported packages last year increased by 7.9 percent in volume. In value, however, the increase was as much as 40 percent. Again, the price increase was higher than the increase in quantity.

Italian milk (800 thousand tons exported in the first ten months of 2022) saw volumes sold on international markets increase by 4.7 percent while producers' receipts jumped 31 percent. It is hard not to think it is the responsibility of inflation. And again, olive oil: its increase in volume was 5.6 percent, and its value growth was 22 percent. Finally, cheeses: were sold 6.9% more and grossed 18.6% more.

Who are the primary buyers of made-in-Italy agri-food products abroad? According to Coldiretti's data, Germany remains the primary outlet market for food, up 13 percent, ahead of the United States, up 20 percent, while France takes third place and puts up a growth rate of 17 percent. Positive results in 2022 also came from the United Kingdom, up 18 percent, highlighting how tricolor exports proved more decisive than Brexit. A double-digit leap also came from Turkey (+23%), while negative figures came from China, with a 20% drop, and Russia struggling with sanctions, with -5%.

Source: Il Sole 24 ore

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